Story and photo by Paul Long, FLEACT, Yokosuka Public Affairs
The United Services Organization (USO) honored 12 American and Japanese service
members during the 6th Annual USO Service Salute, a formal reception and dinner banquet, at the New Sanno Hotel in Tokyo, Sept. 21.
Recognized for their volunteer efforts from Commander, Fleet Activities (FLEACT), Yokosuka area commands were: Chief Yeoman Benjamin Satrasook, from the Administration Department; Hull Technician 1st Class Gregory Otteson, stationed aboard the USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54); USO Japan Volunteer of the Year, Sonar Technician Submarine 2nd Class Jeremy Lattimer, assigned to Commander, Submarine Force Pacific Navy Data Center, and Petty Officer 3rd Class Miyuki Noma, assigned to the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, Yokosuka District Headquarters.
According to USO Japan, the Service Salute recognizes select service members from the U.S. and Japan for their outstanding professionalism, leadership, and service to their respective countries. The event is also the organization’s premier fundraising event, which supports uniquely-tailored programs and services designed to meet the needs of the troops and their families of forward-deployed service members in Japan.
The nominees said that they were notified of their selection as USO Volunteer of the Year by members of their respective chain of commands.
“I was in the middle of Phase II (the six week period of training for first class petty officers selected to become chief petty officers) and my command master chief told me,” said Satrasook. “It’s an honor to be recognized.”
Otteson said his commanding officer is a big USO supporter and nominated him for this award. The Curtis Wilbur is currently underway and Otteson was allowed to stay ashore so he could come to Tokyo to accept his award.
“I do my volunteer work because I love Japan,” said Otteson. “Whenever I can, I’m here to help out the community, whether it’s in Japan, the United States, Thailand, Philippines, or Singapore….no matter where it’s at, it’s my job to volunteer to help out the poor.”
The other service members honored were: Sgt 1st Class Yuki Suto, Japan Ground Self Defense Force; Air Force Master Sgt. Maria Wichert, Misawa Air Base, Japan; Air Force Master Sgt. Tamica Evans, Yokota Air Base; Aviation Maintenance Administration 1st Class Karl Baker, Misawa Air Base, Japan; Master-at-Arms 1st Class Clinton Peterson; Commander Fleet Activities, Sasebo; Gas Turbine System Technician (Electrical) 1st Class Jason Calata, Naval Air Facility Atsugi; Lance Cpl. William Martin, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni.